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Adenium obesum

Adenium obesum (Desert Rose): Everything you need to know!

Sitting in a garden or on a balcony, admiring the day, losing in the sweet memories while bathing in a cool breeze, reducing stress, there’s something you’re missing out on! The admiring and fascinating view of Adenium obesum is a magical view to help you relax even more.

Compared to other potted specimens, there is no doubt that these indoor succulents can become showstoppers in your house. Without a further delay, let’s get to know about this beautiful adenium obesum bonsai.

What is the Adenium Obesum desert rose plant?

The Adenium obesum or desert rose, with its swelling woody stem, rich flowers in brilliant pink, coral, and red colors, anyone would fall for them.

The common name of this plant is Desert rose, Sabi star, mock azalea, and impala lily. It belongs to the Apocynaceae family. It is a Succulent plant that requires full sun exposure and prefers sandy, well-drained soil (neutral to acidic).

Obesum Adenium plant is native to Tropical Africa, the Arabian peninsula, and has an impressive mature size of 3–9 ft. tall and 3–5 ft. wide.

The amount of care required for healthy growth makes this sun-loving plant even more intriguing. The obesum adenium takes little maintenance to keep its trumpet-shaped, vibrant flowers blooming for lengthy periods. You can’t go wrong cultivating these stunning succulents as long as they’re kept at the appropriate temperature!

Although the desert rose plant is a low-maintenance succulent, it will not bloom until the conditions in its natural region are replicated. There are many different types of desert roses.

Despite its name, the Adenium obesum is a deciduous plant, not a rose or a bonsai. Obesum adenium has a large gene pool with various variations and sub-species in the wild, with five different growing kinds.

This obesum adenium bonsai plant is an excellent addition to any warm-weather setting, whether they’re on your balcony or your table.

Types of Desert Rose

You can find several species of adenium. Adenium obesum is the most popular one and easiest to find out of all. The other subspecies are as follows:

Adenium obesum subsp. oleifolium

This subspecies is native to South Africa and Botswana. This spectacular plant can extend up to 16 inches high and have a large tube-like stem. It has bright salmon, pale pink, or pink with red tubular flowers. Its leaves are olive green and narrow with a blade-like shape.

Adenium obesum subsp. socotranum

It is found in Socotra, an Indian Ocean island between Somalia and Yemen. It is known for being the largest species of all, growing to 15 feet high with a trunk of eight feet though the plant is leafless. Flowers bloom in spring, giving bright pink flowers which grow up to five inches in diameter. 

Adenium obesum subsp. somalense: 

These subspecies have twisting branches and narrow blade-like leaves. It is native to Eastern Africa and is 16 feet tall with an inflated and usually twisted trunk. It gives blooms in pink, white, or crimson red that are trumpet-shaped.

Adenium obesum subsp. swazicum: 

It is a dwarf species having a common name, Summer Impala Lily. The specialty of the plant is it generally doesn’t get bigger than two feet tall.

Being native to Swaziland and South Africa, the color of flowers vary from pink to deep reddish pink.

Just like any other plant, obesum adenium also requires some primary care. Being a plant parent isn’t challenging when it comes to adenium obesum bonsai. It will thrive well and give you pretty flowers if you give them little care.

We will cover each and every element of the care guide of the obesum adenium. It won’t give you trouble; grow and take care of your plant with these guidelines.

How to Care and Grow Adenium Obesum (desert rose)


The desert rose blooming plant thrives in dry environments and produces stunning blooms when exposed to direct sunlight. They may also thrive in direct sunlight, whether it’s early in the morning or late in the day. It struggles in the shadow, where the leaves become leggy and weak-stemmed.

Flowers will start to bloom in the early spring. Your plant should bloom continuously until mid-summer if given enough light. Adenium can survive the winter months if it is kept in a bright, warm location, such as a greenhouse. 

If you bring your plant inside for the winter, it will likely remain in a semi-dormant state until spring. Simply maintain it in a warm room with bright, indirect light throughout this period.


The key to keeping your obesum adenium plant satisfied is to provide enough drainage; succulent potting soil with pumice or crushed granite offers plenty of room for water to flow. To keep your succulent from decaying, place layers of gravel over and below the soil.


The Desert Rose likes a pleasant, rainy season, but as the temperature cools down, you’ll need to reduce the amount of water you give it.

The most crucial thing to remember is that the roots should never become wet. 

In the container, examine the soil of obesum adenium plants every few days during the growing season. Water the obesum adenium plant gradually and carefully once it is completely dry. Saturate but do not flood the soil. The water should not stand still, and the soil should be damp but not soggy. Use a well-drained soil mix and let it dry completely before watering it again.

It is unnecessary to water your desert regularly because it only needs water when the soil becomes dry. You should water the plant every two to three weeks, particularly throughout the winter.
Note for Adenium Obesum Bonsai: If you’re planting your Adenium in the landscape, make sure to put it on a little incline so water can drain away. If you are growing your adenium obesum bonsai outdoors, it is extremely drought tolerant and may not require watering once planted.

Temperature and Humidity

This potted specimen generally enjoys the light and thrives in the abundant outdoors. It flourishes in temperatures between 70 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit, yet, like most succulent plants, it cannot survive in cold temperatures. 

Ensure the temperature in the area where you keep succulents does not go below 60 degrees. In the spring, this allows plants to bloom more vibrantly and healthily.

Humidity is not vital for the obesum adenium because it is familiarized with a dry, hot climate.


It’s a good idea to give your bonsai plants a light feeding of slow-release fertilizer or a water-soluble liquid fertilizer now and then during the growing season. You can provide feed once every couple of weeks in the spring when the plant wakes up from its winter hibernation. 

Because Adenium obesum bonsai plants need a lot of nitrogen in their soil, you should add a high-nitrogen fertilizer to the soil just before the flowering period. Before each flowering time, add a high-nitrogen fertilizer directly to the soil.

During summer, feed your plant once a month. Stop feeding the plant when the weather cools to rest for the winter.

If you bring your Adenium plant inside for the winter, you may wish to give it one light feeding in the middle of the season; however, this is unnecessary because the plant is likely in a semi-dormant state.


These plants can become fairly huge. Pruning and under-potting are necessary to maintain a manageable size. Pruning your adenium obesum bonsai plant on a regular basis can help it stay healthy, strong, and well-groomed.

Prior to pruning your succulent plant, you should use rubbing alcohol to sterilize your pruning tools. Ensure to re-sterilize them before you move to the next. You should cut the damaged growth as soon as new growth occurs.

Prune uncontrolled growth during the growing season. Prune back excessive growth before bringing the plant indoors for the winter, as this will help the plant rest more effectively. Keeping a smaller, more compact plant indoors throughout the cold months will also be easier.

You should give your plant a good trim before bringing it back outside for the growing season. You can maintain the shape of the plant by cutting down straggly branches.

Propagating a Desert Rose

Straight from the beginning of the growing season of the adenium obesum bonsai plant, you can propagate your obesum bonsai with both leaves and cuttings. Desert Rose will not produce a thick, fascinating root structure above ground if it is started from a cutting.

Yet, starting from a cutting has the advantage of allowing you to do a variety of intriguing things, such as grafting cuttings that produce one flower color onto plants that produce a different color. You can also create an attractive grouping by grafting several precise cuttings together.

We will cover the concept of how you can propagate from a stem cutting. It is a straightforward and trustworthy method for the obesum adenium plant.

Things you need to propagate your adenium obesum bonsai plant from a stem cutting are:

  1. garden gloves, 
  2. sterilized pruners, 
  3. rooting hormone, 
  4. A clean pot,
  5. And a well-draining potting mix.

Wear your garden gloves as the sap of adenium obesum bonsai is toxic.

Take 5-6 inches cutting from a pinpoint of the branch of the obesum adenium. You can use pruning snips for that.

  1. Let it arid for one or two days.
  2. Now, you should wet the end of the cut and sink it in the rooting hormone.
  3. Plant it into a well-draining growing medium like perlite with potting soil.
  4. Water the cutting regularly; regardless, ensure that the water drains out of the soil. 
  5. You should not overflood it.
  6. It will take root in approximately two to six weeks.
  7. After six weeks, you will witness new growth. (If you pull out the stem smoothly, you will feel the cutting rooted in place.)

If you’re planning to pot or repot your adenium obesum bonsai, then these are the things you should consider while doing so.

Potting and Repotting a Desert Rose

Repot the plant when it is necessary to do so. 

When the roots of your succulent plant fill the container, and it becomes root-bound, you should repot your adenium obesum bonsai. You can repot your obesum adenium plant once or twice a year. 

Keep your plant in its existing container if you don’t want it to grow any larger. The growth of the obesum adenium plant will restrict when it is kept root bounded. You should repot your Obesum adenium plant in late winter or early spring, preferably as soon as new growth emerges.

  • When you’re repotting your adenium bonsai, gently remove the plant from the pot.
  • Ensure sure the soil of your succulent is entirely dry. 
  • Now, gently extract any rotting or dead roots by removing the old soil from the roots. 

Note: Apply an antibiotic solution if you create any injuries or observe bruising.

  • Fill the pot with potting mix and repot the plant.
  • Spread the roots of the obesum adenium as you repot your succulent. 
  • Ensure your plant dries out for a week or so to lessen the surprise of repotting. 
  • Water your adenium obesum bonsai after a 7days, but ensure the water drains out entirely. 

Note: You should not let your plant sit in standing water or moist soil.

Note for repotting adenium obesum bonsai:

  • Ensure that your pot is at least 10% larger than the previous one or 10% greater than the size of the plant when selecting one.
  • Repot your obesum adenium right before the growing season begins to provide it time to adapt to its new surroundings.

How to get Desert Rose to Bloom?

The obesum adenium will bloom after seven to eight months after sowing though it totally depends upon the conditions. You should give your bonsai at least six hours of sunlight each day. Ensure once a month during the spring and summer season, fertilize your adenium bonsai plant. If you are planning to repot your bonsai, then the primary focus of your plant will be on developing its roots than blooming. Ensure to give it proper adjusting time. 

Although an obesum adenium blooms well in hot temperatures, it needs a break during the growing season. As a result, the desert rose has two distinct blooming seasons. When the blooms get enough sunlight in early April, they blossom steadily. The second phase begins when the temperature dips below 60 degrees Fahrenheit in the early fall months. It’s the time of year when you’ll need to bring the plant inside for pruning.

Now, we will look after some of the common problems related to Adenium Obesum bonsai.

Common Problems with Adenium Obesum

The desert rose is a disease-free and pest-free plant. Overwatering is the most severe issue that this plant faces. When a plant’s growing conditions aren’t optimum, it loses its natural guards, allowing pests and pathogens to infiltrate.

Leaf Drop or Yellowing Leaves

The yellowing of the leaves or leaf loss of the obesum adenium plant are signs of root rot. A fungus causes root rot. You might be able to save the obesum adenium plant if you detect it early enough. You must remove damaged leaves and stems, and the root ball must be unpotted. Cut away any damaged roots with a sharp knife if you find charred, mushy roots. Ensure to sterilize your knife in between cuts. Apply a fungicide as per the instructions mentioned on the package. Replant the remaining roots of the bonsai plant in a potting mix that drains properly.

Leaves with Spots

On the upper leaf surfaces of the adenium obesum bonsai, you can find powdery mildew leaves with blister-like markings. It can cause abnormal growth and the appearance of a white powdery substance on the leaves, stems, and buds. It is more likely to spread on cool, moist nights and hot days. 

Water is not a buddy of powdery mildew. You can take advantage of that aspect and spray the plant leaves with water. Make sure to apply a fungicide according to the package directions. Prune your obesum adenium plant when stems and branches become tangled. If bonsai plants have adequate space, powdery mildew is less likely to happen.

Lower Leaves Speckling

The most prevalent insect that attacks adenium obesum is spider mites. Spider Mites acquire their food by sucking the sap of the obesum adenium from the bottom of the leaves. Leaf speckling finally leads to total discoloration and death of the leaves. Shake infected leaves over a piece of white paper to detect spider mites; spider mites appear as little dots. 

You can find webbing and eggs on the undersides of the leaves of your plant. If you encounter a small infestation, you can spray the bottoms of all the leaves with a strong stream of water. Repeat this procedure every few days. You can use neem oil to keep mites at bay. Make sure to coat the leaves’ undersides and the plant’s bottom surfaces with neem oil.


In a nutshell, Adenium obesum is a low-maintenance succulent, lovely and colorful. The long-lived obesum adenium is the type of plant that becomes a family member. These plants can persist and flourish for decades in the rough and under optimal circumstances.

The care these fascinating succulent plants require varies from season to season in regions with cooler climates.

The adenium obesum bonsai plant blooms in the spring, relax in the summer heat, blooms again in the autumn, and hibernates. You’ll grow to consider this unique botanical specimen as a companion as you care for and appreciate it over the seasons and years.

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One comment

  1. B .Koteswararao

    Good explanation to develop adenium plants

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